I tried a quick Google search but couldn’t find what I wanted. I’d like some estimates on how many distinct music tracks are currently on peoples computers worldwide, and how many will be out there in the near future. If you have any pointers to any related estimates, please let me know.
I remember when I started working on MIR research in 2001 I had a collection of 359 (digitized) tracks. I thought that was plenty. Several of the simple computations I ran back then took longer than a night on my computer. Two years later I was dealing with 3961 tracks and thought that was a “large scale” evaluation. When I conducted some of the experiments for my thesis (2005/2006) I thought 20,000 tracks was large scale. Today my colleagues and I are talking about what to do with a few million tracks.
Looking back it seems that roughly every 2 years the number of tracks increased by one order of magnitude. With a bit of extrapolation this leads to more than a hundred million tracks in 4 years. That might sound like a lot if you think of music in terms of what is played on radio stations. But if you think of it in terms of all the music that is created every day, it seems odd that only such a tiny fraction is digitally available.